Oil minister downplays cut in excise duty on petrol, diesel

New Delhi: With petrol and diesel prices rising by Rs 9-10 per litre since March, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today downplayed possibility of an excise duty reduction to give relief to consumers saying there should not be any knee-jerk reaction.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

"I have maintained that there should not be knee-jerk reactions (to daily movement in international oil prices). Dont jump (with joy) on three-day sline in oil prices and dont over-react to three-day spike in rates," he told reporters
here. He was asked if the government would respond to the recent rise in international crude oil prices to USD 50 per barrel by cutting excise duty.

"Petrol price was freed (from government pricing controls) in 2010 and diesel from October 2014. It was a conscious decision to link them to market and we stand by that decision. There is no rethink on it," he said. In line with the practice of fortnightly revision in rates in step with international trends, petrol price was on Wednesday hiked by a steep Rs 2.58 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.26 a litre, the third increase in rates in five weeks.

A litre of petrol in Delhi is now at a year's high of Rs 65.60 while diesel is priced at Rs 53.93 a litre.

Since March, this is the fifth increase in auto fuel rates on global cues. After discounting the April 16 reduction in rates by Rs 0.74 a litre in petrol and Rs 1.30 in diesel, petrol prices have jumped by Rs 8.99 per litre since mid-March
and diesel by Rs 9.79.

When the oil prices slumped in second half of 2014 and 2015, the government hiked excise duty on petrol and diesel nine times to mop up gains which should have gone to consumers. In all, it raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47.

Pradhan said there is no direct link between retail price of petrol and diesel with crude oil rates. Retail prices are linked to international gasoline (petrol) and gas oil (diesel) rates, which do not necessary move in tandem with crude oil
prices.

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